“Are you sure you really want to do this?” Annabel asked.
“Yes, Ann. I’ve made up my mind,” Precious replied.
“And do you think any man is worth that?” she asked again.
“Leke is worth everything to me.”
“Hmmm, love is as strong as death, says King Solomon,” Annabel quoted the Bible.
“Here, love is as strong as a kidney,” Jennifer interrupted.
“Have you done the test?” Annabel asked.
“Yes, I am a match,” Precious replied.
“So when are you doing the operation?” Annabel asked again.
“But doesn’t he have a kidney himself? Can’t they go to wherever they are keeping him and take his own kidney? Must it be yours?” Jennifer asked three questions at a time.
“That’s true. You said something reasonable for the first time, Jenny. Can’t Leke donate his own Kidney?” Annabel asked.
“I have considered that, but he is in no condition for a surgical operation now. He has been in police detention for the past four months. He is too feeble for such a thing,” Precious replied.
“I see. You are the strong one, Mighty Igor, a cheerful giver. I am sure one day, I will tell you ‘didn’t I warn you?’” Jennifer said.
“That day will never come,” Precious replied.
The operation was successful. It took 48 hours before the doctors allowed anybody to see the two ladies involved. The first person to enter Precious’ ward was Leke. Annabel and Jennifer followed him. As Precious saw Leke, she struggled to sit down on her bed.
“I can never forget what you did for me Precious.”
Precious smiled and said, “I’m glad you appreciate it.”
“I just hope he keeps his word,” Jennifer said.
“I will, I promise and a promise is forever,” Leke said.
“How are you doing, girlfriend?” Annabel asked.
“I am okay. I hope I will be discharged tomorrow. I wasn’t in school throughout last week.”
“Just relax till the doctors say you are fit enough to go,” Leke said.
Then the door opened and a young lady, supported by Prince Jude and Bode entered.
“This is the lady that donated her kidney for you,” Jude said.
“You saved my life. What is your name?” the girl asked.
“Rachel Stallone Temitope.”
“All three?” Jennifer asked.
“I think we can call you Rachel,” Annabel said.
“No, call me RST,” she replied.
It was a rainy day yet a busy day. Despite the fact that the rain refused to stop, people of Lagos refused to stay at home. One major thing that caught the attention of Leke was the variety of umbrellas in Lagos. He was ashamed to go out with his own umbrella as it was old and one of its frames was out of its position. But when he got out with his wretched umbrella, he was surprised that his was better than the average one outside. Many umbrellas he saw people using were a little bit better than baskets. He saw many people under umbrellas still totally wet. Some people held their umbrellas with the right hand at the base and supported it at the top with their left hand. Leke soon developed a habit of comparing every umbrella he saw with his.
He stood in front of a mall looking at a young girl with an umbrella that was not different from a cloth. The umbrella was soaked, so was the girl under it. He still fixed his eyes on her when a car suddenly stopped beside him.
“Are you going towards the island?” RST asked.
“Hey! How are you? I can see that you have fully recovered,” Leke said excitedly.
“Yah! And your girlfriend?”
“She is also okay.”
“Are you going towards the island?” she asked again.
“No, I am going back to Yaba. Thanks.”
“Okay, can I have your number?” she asked.
“No problem,” Leke said and they exchanged phone numbers. Afterwards, RST drove off.
“Who was that?” Jennifer asked coming from behind him with a very small umbrella.
“How did you manage this small umbrella to cover the whole of your body?” Leke asked.
“Answer my question. Who is she?”
“RST, can you still remember her?”
“I have been watching you exchanging numbers with smiles.”
“Comm’on, she only asked for my number.”
“I see,” Jennifer said and walked away immediately.
“All I saw was that they were exchanging numbers and he was smiling like a village girl that just got a new dress as a birthday gift,” Jennifer said.
“Is there anything wrong in exchanging phone numbers?” Annabel asked.
“I know it when I see a man falling for a girl,” Jennifer said.
“That is why you have never seen any man falling for you,” Annabel taunted.
Jennifer turned to Precious and said “And you are looking like a zombie, you can’t even say anything. If you like, let her take your kidney and your man.”
Then the door opened. Leke entered.
“Talk of the devil,” Annabel said.
“You don’t even care if we are in panties,” Jennifer accused him.
“I am sorry, I thought I knocked,” Leke apologized.
“And you thought you heard all of us shouting ‘come in, Mr. Handsome’. I don’t know why you cannot act normally; at least you are not the one that lost a kidney,” Jennifer said.
“Hey! What is the meaning of this Jenny?” Precious talked for the first time.
“Sorry *tokotaye, love wa tintin. I’m going back to my studies,” Jennifer said and walked towards her bed.
“I am very sorry for not knocking. I have so many things on my mind,” Leke apologized again.
“I see; so many things like a date with RST,” Precious said.
“She has been feeding you with news, right?” Leke asked.
“Are you hiding the news from me?” Precious queried.
“You know me very well, Precious. After all you did for me, I can never go after another girl.”
“Listen Leke, if you break my heart, I will kill you and kill myself.”
Leke smiled and said. “I won’t break your heart.” Then his phone buzzed.
“I can bet my last naira on it, she is the one calling,” Jennifer said from where she was lying.
Leke took his phone out of his pocket. He looked at its screen. The call was from RST. He became confused.
“Answer it, we will all close our ears,” Jennifer shouted.
“Can’t you pick up your call? Do you need my permission?” Precious asked.
Leke kept staring at the phone as it continued ringing.
“Trust me baby. I have no idea why she is calling.”
“Just pick up your phone,” Precious replied.
(*Tokotaya – husband and wife; Love wa tintin – overwhelming love)
Leke had never been to KFC eatery before. He looked around as he entered the hall. It seemed he was odd. From what he could see, he was the only person dressed with his shirt not tucked into his trousers. He was also the only person wearing sandals. He was sure he must be the only person without a dime in his pocket… He looked around, quickly searching for RST before others started noticing him. He saw her sitting alone at one corner. He quickly walked towards her, drew the chair facing her closer and sat down. Without greeting, he asked “What do you want from me?”
“Relax boy, I’ve ordered for chicken, I am not here to eat you. I am a friend.”
“What exactly do you want?” Leke asked pronouncing the words one by one.
“Maybe I am making a mistake. My dad told me everything.”
“Everything about what? About how he bought my girlfriend’s kidney for you?”
“Yes. Even though I was the beneficiary, I pitied her. One million naira is nothing to my father, but it cost the poor lady a kidney.”
“So are you here to pity us or to remind us of how poor we are?”
“None. I am here to help you. To help you get a good job that can pay you that one million naira in two months.”
“What kind of job is that?”
“I don’t have anyone in particular in mind, but my father is a top director in ZP Telecommunications. He can use his influence to get you a good job there.”
“That is very nice of you. So what do I …” Leke suddenly stopped talking.
RST had no idea why he stopped. From where she sat she couldn’t see Precious and Jennifer approaching them. Leke knew they were there to create chaos.
“Don’t cause any drama here, Precious. It is for our own good,” Leke said as Precious got to their table.
“Our good my foot,” Precious replied and face RST. “Listen, you bitch, there are five million guys in this city alone. Can’t you look for your man elsewhere? You took my kidney, now you want to take my man.”
“I don’t need your man; I don’t need your embarrassment as well,” RST replied angrily, hissed and left.
“My daughter told me about you. She said you will come with your certificates. Are you with them?” Jude asked while pouring himself some whisky as Leke took out copies of his certificates from his folder.
“Here they are, sir.”
“You can keep them. What is your qualification?”
“First degree, sir.”
“Mining Engineering and you want to work in the telecommunications industry.”
“RST said ….”
“Forget about what she said; we don’t need you,” Jude said.
Leke became speechless. The office remained quiet for about two minutes, and then Jude said
“I will help you.”
Leke became relieved. Jude continued talking.
“A South African mining company has just got a license to operate in Nigeria. They have started operation few months ago but are still recruiting more staff. If you are employed, you will be in the head office in Abuja for a few months before you will be posted to the field. Will that be okay with you?”
Leke couldn’t understand why Jude should ask him that question. He would be the most foolish person to say working in Abuja won’t be okay.
“Yes sir,” he answered.
“Then you can leave copies of your credentials with me. I will ensure they get to the appropriate quarters.”
Annabel entered the room hurriedly and threw her bag on the bed. She glanced at her wristwatch briefly and quickly opened her wardrobe. She was searching for the right outfit to wear. She picked one, threw it on the bed and was about to pick another one when Jennifer threw the clothes back to her.
“Take it easy, baby girl. Why must you throw your undies in my mouth?”
“Hey, sorry! I didn’t know that you were there, but shey that one na undies?
“What is the reason for the urgency? Where are you going?”
“Bode will soon be here. We are going to the movies.”
“Wow! I’ve never been to the cinema before.”
“Because you have never had a boyfriend before.”
“Do you need a boyfriend before you can go to the cinema? It is because they are too expensive,” Jennifer said.
“They are not too expensive, it is because you are too poor,” Annabel replied her.
“Same thing. They are too expensive for me.”
Annabel took three clothes and walked towards Jennifer.
“Which one should I wear?” she asked.
“You want a sexy one?”
“Yes,” she replied.
“One that will reveal your boobs?”
“Then go for this,” Jennifer said and touched a red gown.
“You think …” Annabel started but was interrupted by a knock at the door. “That is Bode.”
Holding the clothes, she walked towards the door and opened it. She was surprised to see RST standing at the door.
“Can I come in?” RST asked.
“Sure, you may come in.”
“Leke does not live here. Didn’t you collect his home address?” Jennifer said as soon as RST stepped into the room.
“I didn’t come here for Leke. I actually want to see Precious but if she is not around I can leave a message.
“I am around,” Precious said standing at the door.
“Oh! Good. I’ve come to apologize for causing problems between you and your boyfriend and to let you know that there is absolutely nothing between your man and me.”
“He has explained everything to me. I think I’m the one that owes you an apology,” Precious said.
“I am glad you believe him. I am a nun, I don’t need a man,” RST said.
“Who is a nun?” Jennifer asked.
“A Catholic sister,” Annabel answered her.
Jennifer jumped down from her bed and walked towards RST
“Gimme five. I am not a nun but my honey has never been tasted. In fact, I have never been milked, if you understand what I mean.”
“That’s very good of you. Chastity is a pride,” RST said as they shook hands. She then faced Precious and Annabel “I want to be friends with you girls if you’ll welcome me into your circle”
“With all pleasure,” Annabel said.
“Same here,” Precious said.
“We are friends already. We’ve got something in common,” Jennifer said then the door opened.
Bode and Leke entered the room.
“Dress up, girls. We are all going to the cinema,” Leke said.
“You didn’t tell me you’d be taking me to the cinema” Precious said.
“I want to spoil you tonight,” Leke said.
“So much for a kidney,” Jennifer said. Leke ignored her and said,
“I’ve got something to celebrate. Guess what?”
“Whatever it is, at least I am going to the cinema for the first time today,” Jennifer said excitedly and started looking for the right clothes to wear.
“Precious, guess what I am celebrating,” Leke pushed again.
“Your landlord is dead” Precious retorted.
“You’ve been invited for an interview,” Precious attempted again.
“I’ve not been invited for any interview; I got a job straight away,” Leke said and turned to RST “Your father made it happen. I got a job without an interview.”
“Congratulations! I am very happy for you,” RST said and turned to Precious “Can I hug him?” she asked.
“A lady wants to dance but she cannot dance alone. Can all male volunteers come forward, please?” the MC of the welcome party organized for the new employee of ZC Mines announced.
Within few minutes about eight men had climbed up the podium.
Then the lady was called upon. She came up majestically. She was extremely beautiful and was dressed in an elegant style. Obviously, she wasn’t a Nigerian.
The lady was to choose one of the men. He looked at them thoroughly but quickly, and then picked Leke. Everybody clapped for him. The music was put on and the two started dancing.
It lasted for about fifteen minutes and ended with a lot of applause. Leke was a good dancer just like the lady. Immediately the music stopped playing, the lady disappeared. Leke walked back to his seat as the other men kept hailing him.
The party continued till around midnight. It took place inside a hall located at the staff quarters of the company. The hall was a walking distance to Leke’s apartment but he hated walking alone at night. He was still searching for any of the few people he had started associating with among the new employees to keep him company when a hand tapped him from behind.
“Hey!” the lady he earlier danced with greeted.
“Hey! How are you?” he asked.
“I’m sharp. You danced very well.”
“So did you.”
“What’s your name?” she asked.
“That doesn’t sound Hausa,” Leke said.
“Do I look like a Zainab?”
“Must Zainab be Hausa?” Leke asked back.
“I have many Hausa friends; all of them are Zainab.”
“That’s interesting. So where are you from?”
“Mzansi,” she replied.
“Where is that?”
“Oh! You are from South Africa. Welcome to Nigeria.”
“I should be the one welcoming you to Abuja. I’ve been coming here since I was ten.”
“I am still the host. This is my fatherland”
“Sharp, can I have your tens?”
“What’s that?” Leke asked.
“Sorry, I’ve forgotten that you use eleven-digit phone numbers here. In Mzansi, we use ten digits.”
“So you want my elevens?”
“That doesn’t sound nice. Don’t copy it. Gimme your phone number.”
Leke dictated his phone number to her and she did the same to him. As she left him walking towards her SUV car, Leke fixed his gaze on her.
She was light in complexion, with a slim body but big buttocks and a perfect feminine shape. She wasn’t too tall nor short. As Leke kept looking at her, he concluded that she was beautiful.
It was exactly 11 a.m. when Leke’s phone buzzed. The sound of the phone woke him up, and he could still feel the effect of the alcohol he drank at the welcome party the previous night on his body. Lazily, he took the phone and looked at the screen. The caller was Lerato.
“Hey, Leke!” Lerato greeted cheerfully.
“Hey!” he replied.
“Were you still sleeping?” she asked.
“You are a lazy man. What’s your flat number?”
“I am coming over now,” she replied.
Leke wanted to ask why she wanted to come but before he could talk she had already terminated the call.
Quickly, he stood up from the bed and went immediately to the bathroom. He brushed his teeth and took a quick bath. He was returning from the bathroom when he heard a knock on the door.
“I’m coming,” he said, throwing away the towel. He quickly applied his body cream and dressed up. Then he went to open the door.
“Why did it take you that long to open the door?” Lerato asked putting on a seductive smile.
“I was dressing up,” he replied.
“And you didn’t want me to see you naked?”
“That will be weird,” he replied.
“Weird my foot. Many girls must have seen you naked before and I have seen many guys naked. So for me, it is weird when a man keeps a lady waiting outside for fifteen minutes just because he didn’t want her to see his dick. That is weird.”
“Good morning, you have not even greeted me,” Leke said, trying to change the awkward subject.
“Oh! I forgot. Good morning. How was your night?”
“Terrible. I’m not good with alcohol, yet I keep drinking it.”
“Bad for you,” Lerato said. “Do you smoke?” she asked.
“Nope. I tried it once, men! I couldn’t breathe.”
“You are a small boy. Do you have a girlfriend?”
“Are you here to interview me?” he asked back, pretending to be irritated by the endless questions.
“Funny you. Do I look like Amapour? Just answer me. Do you have a girlfriend?”
“Yes, her name is Precious. She is in Lagos.”
“Iyoh! You mean you have to go to Lagos before you have sex?”
“Do I need to have it all the time?” Leke asked back.
“So how often do you have it?”
“What do you drink Lerato? I mean what should I offer you?” Leke asked, no longer comfortable with the direction of the discussion. He started walking towards the fridge.
“The drinks in your fridge are not better than those in my fridge. I didn’t come here to drink.”
“So what did you come here to do?”
“To tell you how much I admire you; how much I want to be close to you.”
“I am sorry, Lee. I have a girlfriend and two will be too many.”
Lerato looked sternly at him and said “Two girlfriends will be too many? Another weird attitude.”
It was Leke’s first ‘working’ day at work. The past few days he had spent in the company were for orientation. He quickly got used to his new environment and knew immediately that he was going to enjoy the job. The official time for lunch break was 1 p.m. He was about to go for lunch when the intercom in his office buzzed. He picked it up.
“Hello!” he said.
“Hello! Miss Mighty will like to see you in her office now. Seventh floor, 7-115.”
“Alright! I’m coming now,” he said and started wondering who Miss Mighty could be. He knew the Mighty family owned the company but knew only Mr. and Mrs. Mighty.
He immediately took the elevator to the seventh floor and quickly looked for office 7-115. When he got there he saw a young secretary who directed him to an inner office. He was surprised to see Lerato in the inner office.
“Are you Miss Mighty?” he asked.
“Anything wrong in that?”
“Nothing. Just that I didn’t know.”
“Because you never cared to ask.”
“I first met you last Friday, Lerato. I couldn’t have asked everything.”
“Alright! My name is Lerato Mighty, if you want a fresh introduction.”
“What’s your position here?” Leke asked.
“I am a supervisor,” she replied.
“I hope you are not supervising me.”
“No, and I am happy with that because if I am to supervise you, it will be bad for business.”
“That is the reason we should keep our professional lives professional.”
“I’ve got a personal life to live and my profession can’t dictate how I live my personal life,” Lerato argued, defiantly.
“So why am I here, ma’am?”
“It’s lunch time. I want to invite you for lunch,” she replied.
Leke looked at her surprisingly.
“You really mean business, Lerato. Thanks for the offer but no thanks.”
“You mean you don’t want people to see us together?”
“I don’t care about people; I care about myself. Lerato, you are too beautiful for me to resist. I have to keep my distance.”
“And who says you must resist me?”
“Precious. My vow to Precious says I must resist every other lady.”
“That’s nonsense. I am not asking you to drop your Precious. She is not here, she is in Lagos. My boyfriend is in Johannesburg. I am the one you have here, you are the one I have here, so let’s enjoy this moment. I see no harm in that. What she doesn’t know can’t hurt her. ”
“You may not see any harm there. I can see it clearly.”
“So tell me, what is the harm in jigajiga?”
“I think I have to go. I am officially on break,” Leke said and stood up.
“Sit down. There is one more thing.”
He sat down.
“Yesterday I checked your profile on Google,” she said and paused.
“Why?” Leke asked.
“Because I want to know more about you.” There was a silence, and then Lerato continued. “I discovered that you have a criminal record. You killed a man and were convicted.”
Leke remained quiet. Lerato continued.
“The head of Human Resources owed me a favour so I asked for your file. He had no option but to give me. I checked and realized that you didn’t declare in the company forms that you filled that you have any criminal record.”
“I didn’t fill any form here. I only submitted my application letter and credentials.” Leke protested.
“Then someone filled the forms for you. Someone even submitted a police clearance certificate for you because it is part of the requirements here. And the certificate clears you of all criminal offences. It must have been forged.”
“So you are blackmailing me?” Leke asked.
“Why will I blackmail you with information that is freely available on Google?”
“Then why are you telling me this?”
“I want to assure you that your job is secure here. My father owns this company and I draw a lot of water here. The company frowns a lot at criminal cases and very soon some busybody will discover your record. Someone, unlike me, that will not have any soft spot for you. He may want to blackmail you and if he is your friend, may advise you to resign before the company will get to know but I am assuring you that you need not worry about the issue. I have it completely covered. We make the law and we can break it.”
“And what do you want in return for this favour?” Leke asked.
“Nothing. I can’t force you to love me. But I will continue to persuade you. I am your friend and you can always count on me. I will defend you here with every influence I’ve got.
“That is very nice of you, Lerato. You have just assumed a new position in my …”
“I don’t want to say that.”
“Alright! Put me in any position anywhere you like. Are you still not having lunch with me?’
“No. The time has gone already and I also want to make it special.”
“How?” she asked.
“Let’s have dinner tonight, after hours, at Transcorp Hilton. On me” Leke said.
Lerato became excited.
“Wow! That’s a very expensive place you wanna take me to. Very exclusive and cosy. I can’t say no.”
“You are paying for the food and drinks as you promised,” Lerato reminded Leke.
“Yes,” Leke replied.
“But if you really want to enjoy this place you must lodge in one of their suites. I’ve booked one. The bill of that is on me.”
“Yes, serious. Let’s go and take our drinks there.”
Lerato stood up and led the way while Leke followed her like a sheep being led to the slaughter. They took an elevator to the room. It was an executive suite.
“Wow! This is too expensive for us,” an astonished Leke said.
“We deserve it. We have good jobs, so why can’t we spoil ourselves once in a while?”
“Lemme pour you a drink,” Leke said and went towards the fridge.
As he turned back, he noticed that Lerato had removed her gown. Her bra was just falling down at the moment Leke’s eyes caught her body. He was amazed with the massive size of her breasts. He turned his face away immediately.
“Where are you running to? Haven’t you seen a naked lady before?”
“What… what are you doing, Lerato?” he stammered as he turned to face her. Her breasts stood firmly, pointing directly at him.
“What does it look like I’m doing? Do you think I am here to drink wine?”
“So why are you here?”
“I am here to get laid,” she replied and then pointed towards her handbag and said “I have a pack of condoms there, if you wanna play safe.”